Arsenal transfer: Conte reveals Osimhen ‘agreements’ as Romano brings update on Napoli future

Joe Williams
Arsenal transfer target Victor Osimhen
Victor Osimhen has been linked with a move to Arsenal.

Napoli boss Antonio Conte has suggested that the Serie A side will honour its “agreement” to sell Arsenal target Victor Osimhen in the summer transfer window.

The Nigeria international has been linked with a move to the Premier League over the last couple of seasons and it could now come to fruition over the next few months.

Napoli have agreed to allow Osimhen – who Arsenal ‘will’ reportedly make a bid for – to leave this summer but the Italian club are holding out for a team to meet the €130m (£110m) release clause in his contract.

But there have been rumours that they may now be forced to lower their asking price as sides in Europe, including Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea, can’t meet their current valuation.

And now former Chelsea and Tottenham boss Conte, who is the new manager at Napoli, admits there are already “agreements” in place with Osimhen this summer.

Conte told reporters: “As far as Osimhen is concerned, just as I knew very well about the situation of Kvara, Di Lorenzo, Anguissa, Lobotka, on which I have placed an absolute veto.

“Having said that, I know what the situation is regarding Osimhen. I know that there are agreements, that it is a situation different from all the others. I can only assist.

“He is a player of the highest level, exceptional, but I cannot enter into any discussion because it is part of previous agreements which have been clearly stated to me.”

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But transfer expert Fabrizio Romano insists that there is unlikely to be any concrete movement on Osimhen’s situation until later in the summer.

“Another striker we continue to hear a lot about is Victor Osimhen, but the reality is that it still looks quiet on this story. I think this is a situation we have to follow in July/August, rather than this week, even if there have been some rumours about his asking price changing.

“Napoli are never an ‘easy club’ when it’s time to negotiate but for sure the expectation of all parties remains the same: Osimhen is expected to leave Napoli this summer.

“This is not the case with Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, however, with new manager Antonio Conte making it clear he wants the Georgia playmaker to stay at the club. But with Osimhen, let’s see what happens later in the summer as I expect he still has good chances to leave the club.

“If Napoli do sell Osimhen, we may then also get a clearer idea about the future of Romelu Lukaku at Chelsea. For now there is no substantial update on Lukaku, but Chelsea insist on their intention to sell Lukaku and not to accept any loan now, so the situation is still the same, and it won’t be changing. It will take time and it will depends on clubs’ strategy.”

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is another Napoli player linked with a move around Europe but Conte has insisted that the Georgia international is staying in Naples.

Conte added: “He’s staying. I’ve been very categorical about this. The president gave him this wonderful news.

“Kvaratskhelia is a player that there are fewer and fewer with these characteristics, so it’s not a whim to want to keep Kvara.

“I consider him a really strong player, like Di Lorenzo. Strong in one-on-one situations if he’s on the wing, but also strong when he comes inside, but he’s also a playmaker, he creates situations not only in terms of his goals but also very important assists.

“I think that if you systematically keep Kvara on the pitch, he loses a bit of his mental freedom, I think. We have to indulge his characteristics, we’ll do this with him and with the players we have in the squad.”